Green your computer with LocalCooling

localcooling.gifHere’s a fun, free, and completely painless way to knock down your carbon footprint: install LocalCooling, a tiny app that provides a streamlined interface to your computer’s power management functions.

By making a few adjustments to your computer’s power settings, such as going to sleep sooner and spinning down the hard drives after a few minutes of inactivity, you can turn your PC* from a power guzzler to a, well, moderate power chugger. Hey, every little bit helps.

Of course, this is nothing you couldn’t have done already using your computer’s control panels. But presumably most people don’t monkey with these settings because it’s tricky to do so. The LocalCooling app makes it simple.

It also makes it kind of entertaining by providing some extremely dubious statistics about how many trees you’ve saved and optionally feeding your stats into its running scoreboard of power savers. You can even sign up your whole organization and track power savings across the company.

One major caveat, though: the LocalCooling app offer the ability to shut down your PC after a certain number of minutes of inactivity. For some reason I interpreted “shut down” as “go to sleep.” But no, they really mean it — I returned from a trip to the fridge to find that my laptop had completely turned itself off.

I personally find this to be very unwelcome behavior, so I disabled this particular feature.

Anyway, check it out.

* Mac users users who have read this far: sorry.

Author Bio

adam

Comments Disabled

  1. Anonymous - December 6, 2006

    Mac user’s Energy Saver System Preference control panel already takes care of this. Comes with every Mac! Save energy, buy a Mac!

  2. Eric - December 6, 2006

    As mentioned in the article, PCs come with the ability to do this included as well (just go to control panel, performance and maintenance, power options).

    I guess the point of this is really as a “feel-good” program b/c it calculates your savings in terms of trees and oil saved, and lets you compare yourself to other users.

    So even though the program in itself is redundant and unneccessary, it does serve a purpose by making people more aware you can do this and encouraging them to change the settings to save as much energy as possible, and to spread the word.

  3. ben - December 6, 2006

    To most people who are pretty comfortable or better with a PC, it is probably a redundant piece of software. But I think the entire point is just what Eric above stated: those who were unaware think it’s neat and spread the word. The other side of the argument is that the “feel good” message may in fact a detriment in the sense that it may be satisfying the need to FEEL green.

  4. alex - December 6, 2006

    Computer manufacterurs are starting to think about the energy usage of their servers. For example, Dell just announced a new line of more energy-efficient computers: http://news.com.com/2100-1010_3-6140669.html. And it sounds like companies are in a race to see who can make the most efficient servers. I wonder who will take the lead in marketing them over the lower-price tag but energy-wasting counterpart models.

  5. Hilary Rogers - December 7, 2006

    Hi there,
    We have added new features to local cooling – check out the forum. If you have a website/blog, please link to local cooling. The more users, the better. Thanks to EVERYONE who has joined. Keep spreading the word!!
    Regards
    Hilary Rogers
    LocalCooling.com

  6. Anonymous - December 13, 2006

    I like that fact that this is a small unobtrusive app that.
    Is a good hook into the existing power features of your PC.
    Breaks down current power consumption of disks, Monitor. fans etc.
    Gives you before and after watt readings.
    Is free.
    I suggest installing it and trying it out. It is easy to uninstall if desired.
    Tip: enter localcooling.exe if you don’t want it to shut down your pc or invoke hybernation.